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Friday, June 21, 2013

Nisf-Sha’baan: Virtues ------- Shyakh Ninowy

Nisf-Sha’baan: Virtues   ------- Shyakh Ninowy

The specific virtues of Nisf-Sha’baan; the midde of Sha’baan
which makes that day and night special and distinguished, according to the Book, authentic Sunnah, and the statements of the Imams of the Ummah

Allah Ta’ala, The Generous, The Merciful, granted His worshippers many opportunities throughout the year to spiritually cleanse ourselves, purify our hearts, and nourish our souls by opening doors for us to get close to Him Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. He promised those who stay up the nights because of His Love and devotion to Him to grant them with His Munajat (speaking to Him), forgiven sins, and many other prizes. Similarly, to those who fast during the days (other than only Ramadan), to give them blessings, purification, and many inconceivable rewards to the human mind. Allah Ta’ala promised to purify them and reward them in a non-imaginable way to us, consistently so with His Mercies and Generosity. Furthermore, Allah Ta’ala bestowed special honor, forgiveness and privileges onto special days and special nights throughout the time span of this earth, such as the night of Laylatul Qadr, the nights and day of both Eids, and the day in which our Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, was born, the night of Muzdalifah, and many  other very special days/nights, among them the night of the middle of Sha’ban and its day.
Ahadith on the night of Nisf- Sha’baan
1-Imam Bayhaqi narrated in the Shu’ab, and Al Kharaiti in Masaw’e Al Akhlaq, through Marhoom bin Abdul Aziz through Dawud bin Abdur Rahman through Hisham bin Hassan,through al Hasan (Al Basri), through Uthman bin abil-Aas, that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi waaalihi wa sallam, said:( During the night of the middle of Sha’baan, a caller will call: is there anyone who is asking for forgiveness so I forgive? Is there anyone who is asking, so I grant?. Anyone who asks will be granted, except an adulterer and a Mushrek).The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, tells us explicitly and directly that anyone who asks Allah Ta’ala in the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, will be granted, except a few catagories.This calls for us to devote ourselves for Du’a and prayers that night and to ask Allah Ta’ala forgiveness and other needs, specifically that night.
2-Imam Tabarani in his Mu’jam Kabir and Awsat, Ibn Hibban in his Saheeh, Bayhaqi in theShu’ab, and others narrated from different ways to Hisham bin Khaled Al Azraq, he said we were told by Abu Khulayd Utbah bin Hammad, through Al awza’iy andAbdur-Rahman binThabet bin Thawban, through his father, through Mak’hool, through Malek bin Yukhamer,through Muath bin Jabal (radiya’Allahu anhu) said that The Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alayhiwa aalihi wa sallam, said:( Allah shows (His Mercies) to His creation in the night of the middle of Sha’baan. He forgives all His creation except a Mushrek or a hateful person).This Hadith is authentic/Saheeh. Hafeth Ibn Hajar said in Muj’ama’ Az-Zawa’ ed 8\65 after mentioning this Hadith: “Al Tabarani narrated it in Al Kabir and Al Awsat, and the narrators of  both chains are trustworthy”. Some people were skeptical about this narration because of what Ibn Al-Muhibb allegedly attributed to Al Hafeth Ath-Thahabi saying that Mak’hool did not meet Malek bin Yukhamer. This statement, however, is incorrect, if it is authentically attributed to Ath-Thahabi. This is because Imam Ibn Hibban authenticated the narration indicating his belief that Mak’hool did in fact hear from Malek. Besides there is no narration than any of the imams of the Pious predecessors negated Mak’hool’s hearing from Malek. Hence, the Hadith does not go below the level of Hasan (good), but actually it is Saheeh (authentic), and Allah knows best.
3-Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad amongst others, through Hasan bin Musa, he said we were told by Ibn Lahi’ah, he said we were told by Huyayy bin Abdullah Al Ma’afiri, through AbiAbdir-Rahman Al Hbli, through Abdullah bin Amru, that Rasoolul’Allah, sallallahu alayhi waaalihi wa sallam, said:( Allah Azzawajall shows (His Mercies) to His creation on the night of the middle of Sha’baan.He forgives (all) His creation except for two; a Hateful person, and a murderer”Al Hafeth ibn Hajar Al Haytami said in Muja’ma’ Az-Zawaed 8\65: “ Ahmad narrated it, and in the chain is Ibn Lahi’ah who is weak in Hadith, but the rest of the narrators have been deemed trustworthy”. Ibn Lahi’ah is a trustworthy Imam, who simply got mixed up after his books were burned. Talk is known about him, and Muhaddith Ahmad Shaker has an opinion of accepting all of his narrations with no exception, which must further researched and looked into. But the narration of Ibn Lahi’ah has been followed (Muta’aba’ah) by Rashdin bin Sa’ed to Huyayy with the above isnaad, as in the book of Hadith of Ibn Haywayaih. Hence, the degree of the Hadith does not go beyond being Hasan (good) at least, and Allah knows best. In this Hadith, again, there is a call to seek Allah’s forgiveness in this specific night to be exposed to showers of Mercy of Allah on His creation that night. But also, how the hadith sometimes couples the Hateful (jealous/fighting) person with a Murderer and a Mushrek,etc..May Allah purify our hearts from such evil and ill-feelings. One who may have such ill-feelings should immediately repent, restore the rights to people whose rights he violated, and beg Allah’s forgiveness in the Nisf-Sha’baan night.

4-Imam Ahmad, Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi Shaybah, and others, narrated from different ways to the Lady Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin, radiya’Allahu anha, that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi waaalihi wa sallam, said:( Allah {Mercies (or a ambiguous meaning-mutashaabeh- to us, which Allah knows, suitable to His Majesty and non-similar to the creation in anyway)} descend the night of the middle of Sha’baan to the earthly heavens. He (Allah Ta’ala) forgives for more (people) than the hair of the sheeps of Kalb). In the narration of Al Munthiri in At-targhib, there is an addition which says;{Allah does not look (prohibits from His Forgiveness) a Mushrek, a Hateful person, a person who is not kind to his family, a person with long clothing (An ostentatious person who shows off), a person who disrespects his/her parents, and an Alcoholic).This Hadith has been narrated with lots of different chains of transmitters, none of which is problem-free, from a Hadith point of view. However, those entire narrations along with corroborating evidences combined together may alleviate the weakness of the Hadith and elevate to Hasan (good), or even Sahih (authentic), and Allah knows best. One should try to avoid being in any of those catagories, the Ahadith have so far mentioned. Repentance and praying on the night of Nisf-Sha’baan to be exposed to the Showers of Allah’sMercies, are important. 
5.Al Hareth bin Abi Usama narrated in his Musnad, with an authentic Isnaad saying: we were told by Abdullah bin Awn, he said we were told by Abu Ubaydah, he said were told by Abdullah, he said we were told by Khaled bin Ma’dan, through Kathir bin Murrah, he said: The Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, said:{Your Lord shows (His Mercies) the night of the middle of Sha’baan onto His creation. He forgives them all, except a Mushrek or a Hateful person}.This Hadith is Mursal. But the Isnaad to Kathir is Sahih (Authentic). Kathir is a great Tabi’I(follower of Sahabi). He infact met more than 70 Sahaba of Badr, heard from Muath bin Jabal,and Al Marwazi counted him among the Sahaba, which is incorrect. He is, however, a big Tabi’i.From this narration, you see at least the understanding the of pious Tabi’in and their students.
6-Al Bayhaqi narrated in Shu’ab Al Iman, with an authentic Isnaad through Zuhayr bin Muawiyah,he said we were told by Al Hasan bin Al Hurr, who said I was told by Mak’hool:{Allah shows (His Mercies) to the people of earth on the night of the middle of Sha’baan. He forgives them (all) except for two; a disbeliever and a hateful person}.This Hadith is Mursal. Yet its isnaad is authentic to Mak’hool, who is among the biggest Tabi’in.

7-Al-Lalakaa’iy narrated in his “Usul” with an authentic Isnaad through Muhammad bin kulayb, he said we were told by Mu’tamer, he said I heard Burd narrating from Mak’hool:{ Allah Ta’ala shows (His Mercies) onto His creation the night of the middle of Sha’baan. He forgives the ones who are asking for forgiveness, grants repentance for those asking for it, and leaves the hateful people in their hate. So He forgives (all) except a Mushrek and Hateful person}.This narration is Mursal, yet the isnaad to Mak’hool is authentic.
Further evidence on worshipping on Nisf-Sha’baan night, including staying up the whole night (ihya) worshipping and praying:
Based on the ahadith I mentioned above regarding the specific honor of the night of Nisf-Sha’baan and its great importance, one deduces the emphasis of maximizing the benefit of this night by devoting as much time in it as possible to pray for forgiveness and tranquility. No specific evidence is needed to stay up any night of the year, because the prophet, sallallahu alayhiwa aalihi wa sallam, was specifically commanded to stay up all the nights of the year. Nisf-Sha’baan is one of those nights too. Allah Ta’ala said in Surat Al Muzzamil:
Which means: “Stay up the night (in worship) except a little. A half thereof, or abate a little thereof. Or add (a little) thereto - and chant the Qur'an in measure”.
a-The Ayah calls for staying up the nights throughout the year, and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan is one of the nights of the year. In fact, Nisf-Sha’baan is one of the specified nights and extremely honorable nights as sanctioned by the authentic Hadith of theProphet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam. Hence staying up in worship during this night is more called for; filling it with prayers , Du’a, and asking forgiveness, so one can be exposed to the forgiveness from Allah. The Hadithi texts mention: forgiveness for those who are asking for it, etc.
b-There is no specific textual evidence from the Qur’an or Sunnah prohibiting staying-up the night of Nisf-Sha’baan specifically. Those who go to such extremes, base their conclusion on their own understanding, not on a specific text prohibiting worship on Nisf-Sha’baan night. Such nderstanding is manifested by the practice of some of the great Tabi’ieen and the majority of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah. Below are a few examples:
1-Imam Al Hafeth Ibn rajab said in Al Lataaef, page 196; narrating the act of some of the Tabi’een like Mak’hool and those with him, along with great Imams such as Is’haaq bin Rahoyah:
 ( It is encouraged that one stays up the night of the middle of Sha’baan at the Masjid. From the Imams of Ijtihad; Is’haaq bin Rahoyah, agreed with them (Mak’hool and the Tabi’ieen with him) and stated that staying up the night –on that night- in a congregation is not Bid’a).The attributed saying to Imam Ibn Rahoyah and others in the permissibility of gathering people in the Masajed to commemorate the night of Nisf-Sha’baan falls under general principals, such as:
a-No specific text (Qur’an or authentic Hadith) specifically prohibiting gathering a congregation in the Masjid to do worship, Du’a, on Nisf-Sha’baan night, or any other night.
b-The prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, said in what Imam Muslim narrated in his Saheeh:
Which means: (not a group of people, who gather in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the book of Allah, studying it amongst themselves, except that tranquility will descend onto them, mercy will overwhelm them, angles will surround them, and Allah will mention them).This hadith and other similar authentic Ahadith and Qur’anic Ayahs such as in Sura Al Baqara: Which means: “ Mention me, I will mention you”, did not exclude the night of Nisf-Sha’baan outof such honor.Similarly, what imam Muslim narrated in his Saheeh on the authority of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, said:
 (Which means: (Allah Ta’ala has angels circulating everywhere looking for sessions of remembrance of Allah –on earth-. Once they find one, they will sit in it and surround it with their wings until they fill the distance between earth and heavens. When they finish and return back to heavens, Allah asks him, though He is more knowledgeable than them: where did you come from? They reply: we came from –a session- with some of your worshippers on earth, they are doing Tasbeeh of you (Subhana’Allah means: glorifyingAllah ta’ala that nothing is like Him, not attributing Him Ta’ala with the attributes of the creation such as being in a place, or contained/limited by space or direction, or any other attribute of the creation, but rather attributing Him Ta’ala with the glorious attributes of His, the Lord of the worlds), Takbir of you, Tawheed of you, Glorifying you, and asking you. He (Allah Ta’ala tells the angels): what are they asking Me?. They reply: Your Paradise. He tells them: have they seen it. They reply: no O’Lord. He tells them: what if they had seen it? They say: -O’Lord and they seek your refuge. He tells them: from what?. They reply: from your hellfire O’Lord. He tells them: did they see it? They reply: No. He tells them: what if they had seen it? They say: they are asking your forgiveness – O’Lord. He tells them: I have forgiven them. I shall grant them what they asked me, and grant them refuge from what they are seeking refuge from. They –the angles- say:O’Lord; there is a person amongst them, who is a continuous sinner. He was –not regularly among them- just passing by, saw them and just sat with them. He- AllahTa’ala- tells them: and him I forgave too. Because of them, anyone who sits with them, shall not be miserable/looser).All such texts are general and open, and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan was not mentioned as not covered by such texts. Hence, principally speaking, it is, and Allah knows best. 
2-Imam Al-Hafeth Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said in his book “Lataaef Al Ma’aref, page 195:(The Tabi’ieen –followers of the Sahaba- from the people of Shaam like Khald Ben Ma'daan,Mak’hool, Lokman bin Amer and others, used to glorify the night of the middle of Sha’baan, and strive in it with worship. From them (the Tabi’ieen) people took the glorification and virtues of the middle of Sha’baan).From the above evidences, the texts clearly point to the specific honor of the night of the middle of Sha’baan, indicating that it is a special night, therefore one should be relentless in seeking Allah Ta’ala’s forgiveness and generosity during this night specifically.
3-  (Imam Shafi’iy (radiya’Allahu Anhu) said in his book: Al Umm, vol 2, page 485:(We received that it was said that prayer\Dua is answered on five nights: the night of Friday, Eid nights, the first of Rajab and the night of the middle of Sha’baan. Al-Rabi’ said; Shaf’iiy told us:We were told by Ibrahim ibn Muhammad: I saw the chieftain of the most pious of the people of Madina come to the Masjid of the Prophet peace be upon him the night of Eid. They mention Allah and pray until some time of the night passes. We received that Ibn Umar used to stay-up the night of Jam’. The night of Jam’ is the night of Eid, for in its morning you offer sacrifice. Shafi’iy said: “I like to do that in all the above mentioned nights, without it being an obligation”.
Summary:The vast majority of the Scholars from the four Sunni Math’hab expressed their encouragement to stay up the night in worship on the Nights of the Eid and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, etc.They, however, disagreed on two issues:
a-Whether individual or Group gathering are encouraged to stay up those nights.
b-Whether the gathered group of people should do it in a Masjid or at another place. Most of the Scholars who mentioned this topic, did not object to group gathering, but in fact encouraged it. Some scholars, however, preferred that staying up the night in those specific honorable nights is an individual task. Then among those who encouraged group gathering of people to stay up those honorable nights split into two groups. Most of which preferred that such gatherings do not occur at the Masjid and considered having the stay-up all night gathering at the Masjid as a Bid’a (bad innovation), while other scholars in that group encouraged gathering people at the Masjid to stay-up the night.- Imam Ibn Nujaym Al Hanafi said in Al Bahr Ar-Raa’eq 2\56:(Among the encouraged things is to stay up the last 10 nights of Ramadan, the night of the TwoEids, the 10 nights of Thil Hijjah, and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, as was transmitted in the Ahadith and mentioned in details in the Targhib and Tarhib. What is meant by staying up the night is apparently the whole night, and it could be most of it. It is, however, discouraged togather (in groups) to stay up a night of the above mentioned nights at the Masjid. As it was saidin Al Hawi Al Qudsi; no optional prayer other than Taraweeh should be prayed in congregation,and what was narrated about prayers in honourable nights such as the Night of Qadr, Nisf-Sha’baan, night of two Eids, Arafah, Jumu’a, and others , should be prayed individually"(Ibn Abidin mentioned in the Hashiya 2\25:(Chapter: Staying up the nights of the two Eids, the Middle, the 10 of Hijjah, and Ramadan.(Saying staying up the night of the two Eids) preferably the two nights ; the night of Eid Al-Fitr and the night of Eid Al-Adha. (Saying the Middle) means staying up the night of the middle of the Sha’baan. (saying the first) means the first ten nights etc. Sharnablawi has explained the virtues of all those nights in details in Al-Imdad, so refer back to it. (Saying it shall be a worship that spans over all the night or most of it).
(Allama Sharbini Al-Shafi’iy in Mughni Al Muh’taaj 1\591 said after talking about staying up the night of the two Eids:( Staying up the night is done by staying up the whole night such as in Mina, and some said partial of the night, even an hour of it. On the authority of Ibn Abbas radiya’Allahu anhuma : praying Isha in congregation and intending to pray Fajr in congregation as well. Praying/Du’a in them (the night of the two Eids), and in the night of Jumu’a, the first of Rajab, and Nisf Sha’baan is answered, so it is encouraged as mentioned in the Rawdah (of Imam Nawawi).(Al Allama Ar-Ramli said in Nihayatul Muh’taj 2\397 after talking about staying up the night of the two Eids:(Supplication in them, and on the night of Jumu’a, and the two nights; of the first of Rajab and Nisf-Sha’baan is answered, so that is encouraged 
Allama Al Buhuti Al Hanbali in Kashaf Al Qin’a 1\444:{ (about the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, it has virtues, and) among ( the Salaf -pious predecessors-used to offer prayers in it, but gathering in group to staying up the night at the Masjid is Bid’a) (On the encouragement of staying up in it) meaning the night of Nisf-Sha’baan (is similar to what is in) staying up (the night of the Eid. This is what is meant by the statement of) Abdur-Rahman bin Ahmad (ibn Rajab) Al Baghdadi then Al Dimashqi (in) his book that is named ( Al Lataaef) fil Wathaaef. It is strengthened by the hadith: “whosoever stays up the night of the two Eids and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, Allah will revive their heart when the hearts die”. It was narrated byAl Munthiri in his Tarikh with his Isnaad through Ibn Kardous through his father. Others said also the night of Ashura, and the night of the first of Rajab, and the night of Nisf- Sha’baan (Al Hafeth Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali said in lataaef Al Ma’aref page 263:( Sa’id bin Mansur narrated; we were told by Abu Ma’shar, through Abi Hazem and Muhammad bin Qays, to Ata’ bin Yasaar said: “ No night after Laylatul Qadr is better than the night of Nisf-Sha’baan).
Al Hafeth Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani said in his book Al Talkhis 2\160:( Al Khallal narrated – in his book about the virtues of Rajab- through Khaled bin Ma’dansaying: Five nights in the year, whosoever consistently seeks them hoping in reaping their reward, believing in that, Allah will enter him into Paradise; the first night of Rajab; staying up its night and fasting its day, the night of Eid Al Fitr, the night of Eid Al Adha, the night of Ashura, and the night of Nisf-Sha’baan).  (

Al Hafeth Ibn Hajar said in the same book and page number:( Al Khatib narrated in Ghunyatul-Multames with an isnaad to Umar bin Abdul Aziz that he wrote to Adai bin Arta’a saying: “ You should be concerned with four nights in the year, for Allah showers His Mercies in them; the first night of Rajab, the night of Nisf-Sha’baan, the nightof Eid Al Fitr, and the night of Eid of sacrifice).
Fasting on the day of Nisf-Sha’baan:
1-In general: fasting in other than Ramadan is recommended and is a confirmed Sunnah. In fact, Allah Ta’ala tells us in the Qur’an, suratBaqara:“ If you fast, it is better for you, if you knew”.

In the authentic Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim:
“Allah said: All the deeds of the offspring of Adam are for him/her. Except Fasting, it is for me and I reward for it”.
Summary:1- Non-Ramadan Fasting is highly encouraged all the time except the forbidden days such as the days of Tashriq and the day of the Eids. The middle of Sha’baan day is one of the year days where optional fasting is permissible.
2-There is no specific text (Qur’an or Hadith) prohibiting fasting on the 15th of Sha’baan.
3-In fact, fasting the 3 days in the middle of Sha’baan; the 13th, 14th, and15th of Sha’baan are highly encouraged because of the Authentic Ahadith that the Prophet, sallallahualayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, encouraging fasting these 3 days of every month.
4-Since the month of Sha’baan has many emphasized honors and specificities as indicated by authentic Ahadith. Fasting the three days of the middle of Sha’baan including the 15th (including Nisf-Sha’baan) is even more beneficial.
5-Among such specificities:
A-The prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, used to fast in Sha’baan more than any other month throughout the year after Ramadan:Imam Nasa’iy and others narrated with a Hasan Isnaad on the authority of Usamah bin Zayd,radiya’Allahu anhuma, that he asked the Messenger of Allah saying:O Prophet of Allah, I have not seen you fast in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan. He,sallallahu alayhi wa salam replied: (That –sha’baan- is a month that people forget, being between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month where the deeds are taken to Allah Ta’ala, so I like for my deeds to be taken while fasting).
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of the Lady Aisha radiya’Allahu anha saying about the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam:( I have never seen him fast any month more than he fasts in Sha’baan, he used to fast all of it, he used to fast all of Sha’baan except a few (days) ).Hence, fasting in Sha’baan is highly emphasized, and the middle of Sha’baan is part of the month of Sha’baan. But the 15th
of Sha’baan, i.e. Nisf-Sha’baan is even more emphasized to be fasted along with day 13th and day 14th of it, because of the following authentic narrations:
a-The Sunniyyah (authentic Sunnah basis) of fasting the day of Nisf-Sha’baan is authentically narrated and generally covered in the authentic Hadith that is narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim through Abu Hurayra:
 “my companion told me to do three things: fast three days of every month, 2 rak’ah of duha, and Witr before I sleep”.
 b-In an Authentic Hadith as per Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani in his Fat’h Al Barai, Allama Ayni inhis Umdatul Qari, and Ibn Al Mullaqn in his Shar’h of Bukhari, and the hadith’s isnaad cannot be under Hasan under any present circumstance:On the authority of Jarir bin Abdillah, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi waaalihi wa sallam, said:“ Fasting three days of every month is like fasting the whole time, the days of light (ayyamul beedh= the lunar nights in which the nights are lit because of the full moon lighting them) the morning of day 13, day14th, and day 15th(of the lunar month)”.
c-Imam Tirmithi narrated and graded at Hasan. The Hadith is Saheeh/Authentic however.
The Prophet of Allah, sallallahu Alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, said: “ O Aba Tharr, if you fast in the month three days, then fast the 13th,14thand the 15th.
In Imam Munthiri’s Tarqheeb and Tarheeb, on the authority of Abu Tharr. The Hadith is Authentic/Saheeh, in which the Prophet,sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, said: (If you fast in a month three days, then fast the 13th, the14th, and the 15th. Allah Ta’ala confirmed that in his book (in an ayah which means) “whoever does a good deed, its multiplied by ten”, and the day is multiplied by ten (i.e. fasting 3 days per month means fasting all year, as 3 days per month=30 days reward).
Furthermore:1-Imam Al Hafeth Ibn Rajab said in his Book Al-Lataaef page 194: (Fasting the middle day of Sha’baan is not prohibited, for it is among the (white=lit) nights (Ayyam beedh), which are encouraged to be fasted every month. And the instruction to fast the middle day of Sha’baan came in the Sunnan of Ibn Majah with a weak Isnaad on the authority of Ali radiya’Allahu anhu to the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “ If the night of the middle of Sha’baan comes, stay up its night, and fast its day”).
2-The specific Hadith that emphasizes fasting the middle of Sha’baan specifically, according to the understanding of many scholars. Imam Muslim narrated in his Saheeh: “ Rasulul’Allah asked Imran bin Hus’sayn or other person:Did you fast from the Surar of Sha’baan? He said: no. The Prophet said:once you finish your fast, fast two days”. Many Scholars mentioned that the meaning of the word Surar is middle. Hence the hadith of Saheeh Muslim here specifically emphasizes the fasting of the middle of Sha’baan. Below are some statements of the scholars in that regard:
a-Imam Nawawi said in his Shar’h on Sahih Muslim, chapter of Fasting 8\41 explaining the above Hadith: (as if he –imam Muslim- is saying: it is liked/encouraged (mustahabb) that the three days of Surra of the month, which are the middle of the month. Encouragement to fast –the middle of the month- is agreed on its merits, which is encouragement of fasting the three lit(beedh) days, which are the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th).
b-Imam Ibn Hajar said in his Fat’h-ul Bari, chapter of Fasting 4\752: (Abu Ubayd and the Jum’hur said: Surar means the end of the month. It was called surar because it means that the moon hides on the nights of the end of the month, and those nights are the 28th, the 29th, and the 30th
. Abu Dawud narrated from Al-Awzaa’iy and Said bin Abdul Aziz that the Surar of the month is its beginning. Al-Khattabi narrated from AlAwzaa’iy a similar opinion to the Jum’hur, however. It was said, however, that the Surar of the month is its middle. This is what Abu Dawud said and some scholars gave this view more priority than the others. It was directed that the Surar is plural of Surrah (navel or bellybutton), and the Surrah of something is its middle. That is strengthened by the encouragement to fast the lit (beedh=white) days which are in the middle of the month, and that there is no encouragement to fast the end of the month (of Sha’baan), but what was transmitted is a specific prohibition of fasting the end of Sha’baan for those who fast it for Ramadan. Al Nawawi prioritized this understanding because Muslim separated the narration containing the Surra of this month from other narrations, and followed it up by other narrations which encourage fasting the lit(beedh=white) days, which are in the middle of the month as stated).
c-Imam Suyuti said in his Dibaaj on Sahih Muslim, chapter of Fasting vol 3\249 (From the Surar of Sha’baan, which is pronounced either Sarar, Sirar, or Surar. A plural of Surrah, and what is meant is the end of the month, as the Jum’hur said, because the moon is non-apparent then. And it was said that –the Surar- is the midde of the month, because the lit (beedh =white) days have narrations indicating the encouragement to fast them, and no such narration is found about the end of the month. Hence the hadith cannot be understood as the end of the month, for also this would contain a contradiction due to the Hadith stating: “Do not fast one or two days before Ramadan” ).
d-Because there are authentic Ahadtih such as the one in Sahih Al Bukhari explicitly prohibiting fasting the end of the month of Sha’baan, the above narration of Sahih Muslim lands perfectly as specific emphasis on fasting the middle of Sha’baan, as its Surar, as indicated by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam.The hadith of Bukhari says: On the authority of Abu Hurayra radiya’Allahu anhu, Rasulul’Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallamsaid: ( Do not fast one or two days before Ramadan, except if a person was doing his (regular or mandated make-up) fast, then it should be continued). 
Final Conclusion:
Based on the Qur’anic and Hadithi evidences, supplemented by the statements of the scholars,one is:
1-Encouraged to fast the Surar or Middle of Sha’baan.
2-Encouraged to stay-up the whole or most of the night of Sha’baan asking for forgiveness and making supplication to maximize the benefit out of this specific honorable night and be exposed to all the Mercies of Allah that may come anytime during that night. One should repent to Allah Ta’ala and make lots of Du’a. Among the beautiful Du’as one can make - not limited to or specified hereon- is the Du’a of Umar radiya’Allahu anhu, asnarrated by Ibn Al Munther and Imam Al Tabari in his Tafsir with an authentic isnaad fulfilling the conditions of Imam Muslim, that Umar bin Al Khattab radiya’Allah Ta’alaanhu used to say: “O Allah, if you have written on me misery or sins, please erase it, for you erase whatever you want and affirm whatever you want, and to you belong Ummul Kitaab (the mother of the books), please make it happiness and forgiveness instead”.
The most needy to the Mercy of his Lord,
Muhammad bin Yahya bin Muhammad Al-Husayni An-Ninowy,

May Allah forgive him, his family and the believers


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